“It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.” —Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The famed 19th-century Russian writer Dostoyevsky explored some deep themes in his writings. The definition of freedom. The existence of God. The responsibility of the individual. An ongoing conflict between body and spirit.

Worth noting is that Fyodor’s father was a doctor and devout Christian. But that didn’t make Fyodor a Christian (or a doctor for that matter). He had to work such things out for himself.

Like a lot of twenty-somethings throughout history, Dostoyevsky started thinking “deep thoughts” while hanging out with progressive intellectual poets and radicals eager to introduce socialism and even revolution. Those meetings earned him exile to Siberia and even a mock execution, in which he was forced to face his own mortality.

During his five years in that labor camp, the writer-philosopher stopped trying to explain God and surrendered to God, describing his conversion experience in later writings. When he died a quarter century later, the New Testament he’d acquired in Siberia was on his lap and John 12:24 was carved on his tombstone:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24, NASB

Dad, young people have always had to find their own way. Sometimes it even takes five years of hard labor in a frozen wasteland or facing a mock firing squad. If you can rescue your kids from such things, please do. But don’t rescue them so much that they never realize their need for God.

What about you?

Under what dire circumstance did you finally realize your need for a Savior? Your story may not be as dramatic as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, but it may be worth sharing with your family.


Adapted from: One-Minute Devotions for Dads. Copyright © 2012 by Jay Payleitner. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

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